"...affliction produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." Romans 5:3-4
Sunday we will wrap up our series using Dr. Hansen's book Three Vital Beliefs. Rather than focusing on our beliefs in God this Sunday (that God is good and God works for good in everything), we will consider our response to these beliefs. That is a belief as well, believing our response is important. We can believe intellectually that something is true, but if we don't act on such belief, it just remains in our heads. Faith doesn't do a lot of good there.
Faith, as the term is used in the Bible, is a verb. As we will learn Sunday, many of the words in Hebrew and Greek for faith are connected to actions that demonstrate trust. Trust in God is not a noun. Or at least its not meant to be a noun. Trust is not a consideration, it is an action of some kind that makes yourself vulnerable and dependent on God when you don't have the confirmation that such action will pan out.
That's a heck of a notion right there!
In his book The Sin of Certainty, author Peter Enns points out that this is the picture of trust we see in the Bible over and over again. He calls it an affront to reason. We trust God even though such trust has no guarantee (no certainty!) that it will benefit us. He writes:
"It's hard to keep trusting God when you see no reason to...No matter how deep distrust and disillusionment may be, move toward God anyway. When we reach that point where things simply make no sense, when our thinking about God and life no longer line up, when any sense of certainty is gone, and when we can find no reason to trust God but we still do, that is what trust looks like at its brightest-when all is dark." (p79)
Then, Enns considers just why God might work this way. The idea didn't come to him on his own. He got it working on a road construction crew for a utility company during the summers in college. His foreman was a really gruff guy who entertained Enns' conversations about faith and trust in God.
After describing the kind of conundrum he wrote about above, the foreman in more colorful language than he captured in his book said, "You know Pete, a guy who really believes all that...you can't kill a guy like that."
And that takes us back to God working for good in everything. Even in our lowest when trust is hardest, God is doing something in us, perhaps giving us the kind of endurance Paul wrote about in Romans.
SO trust God no matter what! And I'll see you Sunday for a very special worship service.